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NRL clubs to get $2.5m to survive coronavirus shutdown

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NRL clubs will receive just $2.5 million from the governing body to survive the coronavirus crisis should the season fail to resume this year.

The ARL Commission on Monday guaranteed three months’ funding for clubs following the latest emergency meeting to discuss the worst-case scenario for the competition.

That includes two months’ pay for the players under a proposed 75 per cent pay cut should the rest of the season be wiped out.

The Rugby League Players Association is expected to present the plan to players through club delegates on Monday afternoon before making a response.

The governing body last week informed clubs that it has enough funds to pay their monthly club grants of $1.2 million for the next three months.

However after meetings with the RLPA over the last week, it is understood players will get two months’ pay to last the next seven months.

A quarter of the players’ pay will come from the game’s injury-hardship fund, while it is expected a tiered pay cut will be applied to protect minimum-wage players.

That leaves the clubs with just $2.5 million each to survive, with another, smaller, one-off payment expected to arrive in July.

The NRL claim the total $40 million rescue package would be an increase of $6.4 million in comparison to their budget for the 2020 season.

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The figures emerge after revelations head office will make a 53 per cent reduction in operating costs and 25 per cent cut in executive salaries.

Ninety-five per cent of NRL staff aren’t working during the shutdown.

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys remains hopeful the competition can resume in July, when lucrative broadcast payments would also recommence.

“We have a consolidated plan and working with the clubs and the players, are united in our efforts to do all we can to protect rugby league,” V’landys said.

“We had no option but to stop the competition in the wake of advice from our biosecurity and pandemic expert but remain optimistic that the season will restart as quickly as possible, ideally by July 1.

“If that isn’t possible, then we need to be prepared for that option as well and are making the tough financial decisions now to reduce costs to ensure we get through this crisis.”

The likelihood of a reduction in the salary cap, part of a cost restructuring of the game, is also believed to have been discussed during the meeting.

The cap was expected to hit $9.9 million next year and $10 million in the final year of the current broadcast deal in 2022.

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“We are working together to achieve the best outcome in the short, and long term,” NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.

“We must use this opportunity to reset the game’s costs and overall structure.

“These measures will put the game in the best position to rebound strongly from the pandemic.”

© AAP